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HCHB Customers in the News: August 2022

HCHB August News

In August, HCHB customers opened locations, acquired companies and weighed in on hot topics in the industry. Take a look at last month’s newsworthy highlights.

HCHB Customers Weigh in on Industry Bifurcation

CMS’ potential home health rate cuts have changed the M&A conversation for the industry. M&A activity is expected to slow down, as both buyers and sellers get a better handle on company evaluations in the current market. If the rate cuts go into effect. It is expected that smaller companies will need to be acquired by larger organizations to stay afloat. Read the full article here.

Amedisys and Enhabit Comment on Home Health Job Growth

Providers that have focused on retention and recruiting are beginning to see some minor relief on the workforce front and are reducing their reliance on contract labor. ​“Starting quarter three of last year, we started making momentum on the net new nursing hires. And so we felt that’s a combination of lowering turnover and improving hiring.” Read the rest of the article here.

St. Croix’ Latest Michigan Acquisition

St. Croix Hospice has expanded to a second location in Michigan with the acquisition of Corpore Sano Hospice. The company has show quick growth in the mid-west over the past three years and has launched four de novo locations in 2022. St. Croix employees 1,300 people who serve over 3,500 patients across nine states. ​“Corpore Sano and their workforce have an impeccable reputation for providing care in the greater Plymouth area and we are excited to welcome patients, referral sources, and employees to the St. Croix Hospice family.” Read the full article here.

St. Croix Opens De Novo

St. Croix Hospice has opened a new de novo in Minnesota. The new location will shorten the distance staff are required to travel to see patients and increase the number of patients field workers will be able to reach. This location is the fifth de novo St. Croix has opened in 2022. Read the rest of the article here.

LHC Shares Q2 Performance

Workforce strains hit the home health industry hard in Q2. Higher wages, sign-on and retention bonuses and increased contract labor utilization and rates because of COVID have impacted even large home health organizations. However, LHC Group’s hospice segment saw a 5.5% jump in admissions last quarter. ​“LHC Group operates 169 hospice locations and 543 home health locations. The company’s roughly 29,000 employees provide home health, home- and community-based services, and facility-based care across 37 states and the District of Columbia, covering an estimated 68% of the nation’s 65 and older population.” Read the rest of the article here.

LHC Group Announce New Acquisition

The LHC Group announced the acquisition of Georgia-based Three Rivers Home Health. Three Rivers serves 36 counties in Georgia from nine locations. Three Rivers will continue to operate under its current name. ​“This transaction will make it possible for our employees to have greater opportunities and to continue providing the high-quality care they do every day.” Read the full article here.

Enhabit Comments on Current Industry Pressures

Enhabit Home Health has completed its split from Encompass Health at a challenging time for the industry. Workforce pressures, a rise in COVID cases and rebranding hurdles restricted Q2 admissions. But President and CEO Barbara Jacobsmeyer sees the potential for growth, especially in the hospice sector. The company plans to open seven more de novo locations by the end of this year and has allocated over $50 million for acquisitions. Read the full article here.

LHC and Enhabit Weigh in on Conveners

Home Health Care News continues to explore the role of conveners in MA relationships. LHC CEO Keith Myers openly criticized the ​“real problem” between MA payors and home health providers. When asked about Enhabit’s approach to MA, CEO Barb Jacobsmeyer explained ​“They were actually forcing us to deprioritize MA,” she told me. ​“And we don’t want to be in that situation. But we need them to pay us fairly so that we can proactively take those patients. And I’m encouraged by the initial discussions, but obviously, we can only move as fast as they’re willing to move.” Read the rest of the article here.

Addus Expects Accelerated Growth

Addus HomeCare has been acquiring home health and hospice locations frequently near its existing personal care locations. The company plans to target personal care and home health deals through early 2023 and is open to consider larger deals. The company’s hospice segment saw improvement in Q2, partially due to a 6 day increase in average length of stay. Addus HomeCare’s revenues were up 8.7% in Q2. ​“We continue to have a positive view on Addus and view its in-line Q2 results as an indicator of management’s continued ability to execute and deliver results despite a challenging labor environment,” Brian Tanquilut, equity analyst for Jeffries Financial Group, indicated in a note. ​“While labor continues to act as a limiter to overall growth, signs of improvement in employee recruitment and retention give us optimism that Addus should see growth accelerate over the next several quarters, especially since demand for their services remains strong.” Read the rest of the article here.

VNA of Colorado Expands CAPABLE Services

Colorado Visiting Nurse Association received $2.3 million to expand its CAPABLE program for Medicaid beneficiaries. CAPABLE stands for ​“Community Aging in Place- Advancing Better Living for Elders”. The program combines nursing, occupational therapy and handyman services that improves quality of life for aging adults while keeping them in their homes longer. Colorado VNA’s CAPABLE program has served over 300 clients since 2017. Read the full article here.

VNS Health Addresses LGBTQ+ Discrimination Fears

Arthur Fitting, nurse and LGBTQ+ program manager for VNS Health sat down with Hospice News to discuss the efforts VNS Health is taking to help LGBTQ+ patients feel comfortable with their caregivers. ​“You hear cultural competency as a sort of ​‘buzz word,’ but it’s really about being able to develop a safe space for LGBTQ+ patients to be taken care of and share their wishes.” VNS Health serves close to 40,000 patients and collaborates with SAGE to train staff. Joseph Bleiberg, lead licensed social worker with the VNS Health hospice care team also discussed concerns that often arise for LGBTQ+ patients during the advanced care planning process. Read the rest of the article here.

Aveanna Discusses Quarter Two Performance

In Q2 of this year, Aveanna saw an increase of 1.6%, attributed to the home health and hospice segment of the business despite capacity limitations due to staffing shortages. Aveanna has urged for action to bring nurses to the United States to help address this problem. ​“COO Jeff Shaner said there were several bright spots in home health care and hospice, including a 3.7% increase in revenue per visit that was driven by better episodic management and being fully transitioned to Homecare Homebase. ​“The demand for home- and community-based care has never been higher,” CEO Tony Strange said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call Thursday. ​“I’ve been in this business for almost 35 years and for the first time, we have payers — both state governments and managed care organizations — reaching out and asking what can be done to create more capacity. We have a waiting list for new admissions in every branch. We have several examples of how value-based contracts can provide benefits to both payer and provider, but with all that said, we’re still in a firefight today.” Read the full article here.

AccentCare Study Links Telehealth to Reduced Readmissions

AccentCare been actively evaluating the benefits of telehealth while the COVID waivers have been in place. The company conducted a study that showed a dramatic reduction in hospital readmissions who got a couple extra telehealth visits in addition to their traditional appointments. The company has also partnered with Sound Physicians to help patients who don’t have an established primary care provider. Read the rest of the article here.

Pennant Talks Acquisition Strategy

Pennant CEO Brent Guerisoli shared the company’s current acquisition strategy and the operating model that led to a successful quarter for the home health segment. The Pennant Group is a network with 89 home health and hospice agencies and 49 senior living communities. The company uses a local leadership-driven model rather than centralizing control and decisions. ​“This creates incentives for leaders to share best practices, real time data, and benchmark clinical and financial performance against their cluster partners….When evaluating potential home health and hospice acquisitions, we look for small- to medium-sized agencies with strong clinical and operational reputations that provide a platform for organic census growth and expense management.” Read the full article here.

The Pennant Group Purchases Ardent Hospice

The Pennant Group announced the acquisition of Ardent Hospice, a California-based company that offers both hospice and home health services. California currently has a moratorium on new hospice licenses, so companies seeking to expand in California may have do so through acquisitions. Read the rest of the article here.

Gentiva Health Services

Humana has completed the deal transferring majority ownership of Kindred at Home’s hospice and personal care divisions to CD&R. The new company will be named Gentiva Health Services and will be led by David Causby. Humana will continue to benefit as a minority owner of the company. Read the rest of the article here.

Enhabit’s Vision for the Future

Enhabit CEO Barb Jacobsmeyer sat down with Home Health Care News to discuss Enhabit’s take on Medicare Advantage, workforce retention strategies, and her plans for the future of the company. She also discussed Home Health Plus, a program that Enhabit is involved with to help patients who would normally go to SNF facilities. ​“If someday SNF at home moves forward and Choose Home passes, or there’s some sort of reimbursement and regulatory structure change, we can be ready then to make that more of a widespread service that we would offer.” Read the full article here.

Trinity Health at Home Comments on Proposed Rule

Mark McPherson, president and CEO of Trinity Health at Home shared his thoughts on CMS’ 2023 Home Health Proposed Rule. ​“Payment cuts now will be devastating,” he said. ​“CMS’ 2.9% inflationary factor assumption is wrong on multiple levels. Our base wages, coupled with sign ons and referral bonuses, increased labor costs by 4.5%. Gas prices, as well as those of personal protective equipment and other supplies, have ballooned. We’ve been making hard decisions for months; we turn away 250 admissions a week because we do not have enough staff. CMS must understand that with this rate cut and staffing challenges, older adults simply will not get much needed care.” Read the rest of the article here.

Jet Health Opens De Novo

Jet Health has opened a new location in Santa Fe under the brand ​“Klaus Home Health” The de novo will offer nursing, therapy and home health aides. Armando De Aguero is serving the new executive director charged with the goal of doubling the workforce in six months to keep pace with expected demand. Read the full article here.

Nuvance Health Announces Hospice Partnership

Nuvance Health has designated Regional Hospice as its preferred hospice provider for Connecticut. Regional Hospice will provide 247 hospice care from its inpatient care unit. Read the rest of the article here.

Lifespark’s Risk Strategy

Payor diversification and new approaches to payor agreements are pivotal for Home Health agencies in light of the 2023 Home Health Proposed Rule. Joel Theisen, CEO of Lifespark discussed the company’s ambitious growth plans involving global risk. The company is aiming to have close to $500 million attached to a global risk structure in 2023. ​“I grew up on the home health business, and those businesses are always margin-compressed,” Theisen said. ​“It’s always dependent on Medicare or Medicare Advantage … and who’s cutting the rates. And it’s because you’re down the totem pole. You need to get back to apex predator level, which is the payer level, right? Or become your own payer, like in ACO REACH.” Read the full article here.

Residential Hospice Acquisitions

Residential Hospice announced the acquisition of Comfort Hospice and Grace Hospice. The acquisitions are based in Missouri and Ohio respectively and marks the company’s entrance into both states. ​“We share a commitment of putting patients and families first, by providing exceptional care focused on optimizing the quality of life, comfort, and dignity of our patients.” Read the rest of the article here.

Traditions Health Recognized for Growth

Traditions Health is one of the companies recognized by Inc. 5000 on their list of the fastest growing companies. Traditions has grown 377% over the past three years. The company has made this list every year since 2019. Read the full article here.